Library Neutrality

Justifying Neutrality

When one examines the various positions that have been taken with respect to neutrality, it becomes clear that one definition is not satisfactory in clarifying all the implications of that stance. Decades of lively debate have resulted from the complexity and moral ambiguity of the issue. For every situation to which neutrality can be applied, the appropriateness of neutrality has been challenged. The library community cannot ignore these valid and cogent arguments. By declaring a commitment to unbiased service and access to the “widest variety of materials,” librarians are taking positions with ethical implications, which must be justified and clarified if they are to provide moral guidance to the greater community. This guidance can only be achieved if one considers the effects of a neutral stance on each situation to which it can be applied.

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